Research in Motion refuted on recently a new round of Indian media reports, which claim that the BlackBerry maker has granted the Indian government and some other governments in Africa, Middle East, America and Europe the encryption keys to its secure corporate email and messaging services.
India and Nigeria are two of the Canadian smartphone maker's few growing markets,
where it is expanding aggressively. The company is facing falling sales
elsewhere as customers abandon the BlackBerry in favor of Apple's iPhone
and a slew of devices using Google Inc's Android software, leading to
RIM's shares falling by more than 50 percent over the past one year.
RIM, which has been grappling with the Indian government for years,
reiterated that it cannot provide access to its enterprise email and
messaging services as the company itself does not possess the encryption
keys for the same and these remain in the control of its corporate
The Economic Times, in a report on its website that cited a telecom
department official and certain documents reviewed, said that RIM had
provided the Indian government a solution that gave it access to
RIM categorically denied this claim in a statement. It has more than
once refuted similar claims in India over the last two years.
"RIM is providing an appropriate lawful access solution that enables
India's telecom operators to be legally compliant with respect to their
BlackBerry consumer traffic, to the same degree as other smartphone
providers in India, but this does not extend to secure BlackBerry
enterprise communications," said Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM in a
RIM gave India access to its consumer services, including its
Messenger services, in January last year after authorities raised
security concerns, but said it could not allow monitoring of its
The Indian government is fearful that encrypted BlackBerry services
could be used to foster unrest or allow militants to organize or carry
'SECURE AND ENCRYPTED'
David Paterson, RIM's head of government relations, said he is
positive that the Indian government recognizes encryption is fundamental
to attracting and maintaining international business in the country and
that it would not make any demands that could jeopardize foreign
investment in India.
"The fact is that BlackBerry enterprise communications in India
remain secure and encrypted. No change has been made or ever can be made
in India or anywhere," he said in an interview.
RIM has also faced similar political pressures in the Middle East and
elsewhere. It also blocked pornographic sites on its browsers in
Indonesia last year following government pressure.
Enterprise clients -- corporations and government agencies signed up
to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server -- are assigned encryption keys
stored only on individual user accounts. For such users, any data sent
from a BlackBerry is scrambled at the source and reconstituted on
arrival at the receiving device.
RIM has long maintained that only the sponsoring business or
organization has the technical capability to grant access to encrypted